Halo Halo!

Capitalism and its Demons

The new Pope is certainly keen. He’d hardly been in the job five minutes before his wave of attacks on greedy bankers etc came blasting forth. He seems to be determined to abolish the problems of capitalism – by himself if necessary. We were warned that he intended to hit the ground running during his first months in office, and he has done –-like a panic stricken choirboy being chased by a randy priest. Unfortunately his efforts have had no effect on the system yet, but he hasn’t given up.

He’s attacked the ‘tyranny’ of ‘unbridled capitalism’, and the ‘heartless’ ‘cult of money’, and told politicians to be bold in tackling the root causes of the economic crisis. And now he’s announced his long-term plan. ‘There is a need for financial reform along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone’ he says. Exactly what this reform is, and how it will work he hasn’t told us yet. Maybe a bit of praying is needed first.

What he needs, in fact, if he thinks capitalism can be made to ‘benefit everyone’ is a bloody miracle. But perhaps that’s what he has in mind. He is the Pope after all.

There have been signs, though, that in some matters at least, his judgement is not always automatically accepted, even in the Vatican. There were gasps of disbelief and alarm amongst the faithful recently when he announced that the act of doing good wasn’t just confined to believers. Even atheists, despite their views, he said, were able to do good. And, he seemed to imply, atheists could even go to heaven.

Much to everyone’s relief though, this turned out not to be the case. Following the Pope’s message, a Vatican spokesman hurriedly clarified the issue with an ‘Explanatory note on the meaning of salvation’. Contrary to the Pope’s view, it now appears, being ‘good’ alone is not enough to be saved. People who know about the Catholic Church, said the spokesman, cannot be saved if they ‘refuse to enter her or remain in her’.

Confusion also surrounds an incident in St Peter’s Square where, according to various priests and a Catholic television channel, the Pope carried out an exorcism on a pilgrim live on TV. After putting together a panel of exorcism experts they reported, ‘Exorcists who have seen the footage have no doubt – this was a prayer for liberation from Evil’. But the Vatican, conscious of their already wacky image tried to downplay the incident. Their spokesman said, rather ambiguously, ‘The Holy Father did not intend to carry out any exorcism’.

But if it was a kosher, Vatican approved exorcism, it wasn’t a very good one. According to the Christian Post website (31 May) the subject of the exorcism claims, ‘I still have the demons inside me, they have not gone away’. (This is after thirty exorcism attempts by ten different exorcists).In fact one of them, Father Gabriel Amorth, says the man is possessed by four separate demons.

Father Amorth is no stranger to the Halo, Halo column. (See the Socialist Standard, January 2012). Back then he was claiming to have carried out 70,000 exorcisms. He now claims, according to the Mail Online (27 May) to have rid us of 160,000 demons.

Where do these little buggers all come from? Exorcising demons is obviously about as effective as trying to make capitalism work in everyone’s interest. It’s an exorcise in lunacy.

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